Via Basel: A Perspective in the Age of Coronavirus


Friday, March 13, 2020 in Normal, Illinois
Photo credit: Basel Al-Aswad

Via Basel: Solitude, Reflection, and Introspection in the Age of Coronavirus Pandemic—A Perspective

The shift was as sudden as it was dramatic. From thriving globalism, hyper-connectivity actually and virtually, unprecedented mobility as well as increasing activity in both the personal and public sphere that focuses on doing, planning , plotting, arguing, and competing to this: social distancing, isolating, restricting mobility in the skies and on firm ground, working from home, shuttered schools and universities, cancelled sports, theater and art events, even closing bars and restaurants and the best, political campaigns upended. Everything coming to a near standstill within a matter of days.

That IS what is happening, whether you like it or not, agree with it or not, or have an opinion on it or not (nearly everybody has). The after effects will start soon (some already have, such as hoarding), psychologically, emotionally, economically, and culturally. How will it change and transform us in these domains, in what direction, and when, is up for grabs, yet another unknown in a whole list of unknowns we are facing. The human mind dislikes uncertainty and mystery and has difficulty coping with it. As we humans developed and progressed over thousands of years we have come to falsely believe that we are the masters of this planet (and maybe the universe). All the previous natural and man-made disasters have not dislodged this egotistic and superior attitude over nature and the rest of living creatures.

And yet now this microscopic thing, a virus starting its march less than three months ago in the most populous and tightly-controlled country on the planet, with a name that reminds us of a popular Mexican beer, has invaded and permeated all the rest, upending all aspects of modern life.

My point is simply this: Instead of worrying, wallowing, fretting, panicking, overthinking, and bingeing on every detail in the constant news cycle, and after taking the necessary actions and precautions outlined by the medical and administrative authorities, as well as checking on your elderly neighbor, maybe this is an opportunity for:

–Solitude that is healthy, unselfish, leading you to befriend yourself first and then others.

–Reflection on the big picture with an openness towards the realization of the deep inter-connection in all of nature, us included.

–Introspection on the journey to discover the real, authentic you.

I believe these attitudes will help to start the healing process we desperately need after it’s all over.

Until then I plan to read, write, and practice mindfulness, incorporating the above.

Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Christopher Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now, retired, he will have more time for that. And for the next adventure.

Via Basel: Being

Via Basel: Mindfulness & Meditation

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